Flat Ole Hippies in Iceland

Well we started off this morning with our friends.  We were not sure they knew where they were going but they said, “Sure we do.  We are going to the Golden Circle.”  We never saw a golden circle but we did have a good time.  We headed out on our road trip.  We saw beautiful waterfalls, great scenery, wonderful clouds and drove through a tunnel under a fjord.

When we got back to the apartment we found out that we never did get to the Golden Circle, but fun was had by all anyway.

We then decided to go to downtown Reykjavik and have a beer.

 

The bartenders were so pleasant that we left them a tip.  Then we all walked home discussing what we would do tomorrow.

 

Advertisements

Iceland Day 1

We started off this morning heading to the Golden Circle when we hit Route 1 we turned left.  After a while we noticed the water was on the left side not the right side where it should be.  We then found an information board and with our map in hand we figured out that we had turned the wrong way on Route 1.  We had gone too far to turn around so we decided to carry on.  Oh by the way, we were not lost just sightseeing.  We had a wonderful day looking at waterfalls, rivers, fishermen, mountains, sheep, and tons of lupines.  We had never seen so many lupines in Alaska.  We even stopped to watch the sheep get herded across the road. We went to the end of one road and in Arkanes found two light houses. At one point we kept seeing this weird looking building which we decided must have something to do with some type of pipeline. We took a tunnel under a fjord.  It rained off and on all day but we didn’t care.  We were just enjoying the scenery and each other.  We love road trips.  We read somewhere that Iceland is the third windiest country in the world and that the first two no one lives on.  We do believe this now!

 

After we got back to our apartment we took it easy for a while and figured out where we went wrong today.  We did some research for breweries online.  Then decided to walk downtown to Skuli’s which were told was where the locals go for a nice craft beer.  The bartender, Liljar, said that the place was named after a local hero named Skuli Magnusson.  He was the first and only sheriff of Reykjavik.  The other bartender, Alyson, was a brewer from Colorado.  We ordered some dinner from their food truck.  We ordered pulled pork and a fried cod buns with French fries cooked by Scott, yet another American from Memphis, Tennessee. After we were done we walked back home.

It was a wonderful day.  Tomorrow we will see if we make it to the Golden Circle or if we go on another impromptu sightseeing trip.

Iceland

After getting our car which was one we had never heard of but really nice, we headed for Reykjavik. Fred, you probably know what it is.

 

We got to our apartment that we rented.  I decided I was going to take a shower, but that was not going to happen because there was no cold water in the shower, it was HOT!!! We went to get something to eat and a few groceries and called it a night.

 

 

After playing cat and mouse with our host for a while because my phone didn’t work over here and every time we would try to send each other an email HomeAway would hide it.  We finally got hold of the guy taking care of the place for the owner.  He was great and everything is being taken care of.  I was afraid we were going to look stupid because we didn’t know how to turn it on.

 

Flat Ole Hippies Do Scotland

Our new friends have taken us to Scotland with them.  They took us everywhere they had gone.  They even had us spend time with their friends there.  We got to go to all over the highlands and see many new things.  We went to a distillery, brewery, beach and even a castle.  We even ate fish and chips, went for hikes in the woods, drove heavy equipment and hung out with Sam. We went to this really strange place where there were socks and other clothing hanging all over the trees.  We got to spend David’s 69th birthday with him and toasted him with whiskey.  We have to make this a short one because we are heading to Iceland with our friends, after saying goodbye to our new friends.

 

I hope you enjoy the photos.  Off to Iceland now.

Only the Cheapest

I guess a lot of others did a search for renting a car in Iceland like me. They must have found that Sixt was the cheapest too. We had to catch the shuttle bus to the location. After arriving we grabbed our number, 451. They had just called 444. After over an hour they were up to 446. Someone said it would be an hour and half before we could get called. David heard one of the employees say that she had been here for 14 hours. With three employees and working with two number systems, one for pickup and one for return, it was taking a long time. It has really started to move now. We finally got called. The very nice Roxana took good care of us.

Fifty Pounds of Beer

We made it to London yesterday and got to Gary’s after our train broke down at the station. We had to catch a different one which was at the other end of the station. Once at Gary’s I had to get the suitcases packed. The hard part was trying to get them to weigh 50 pounds. After moving things around for several hours we finally decided to pay for our carry and put it in the hold which cost us 47 pounds. This morning we headed to Gatwick on the train. We found every lift to get down to the trains. Several nice young men helped us getting the luggage on and off the trains. We made it to the airport in plenty of time. We are now eating at Garfunkel’s and waiting to get a gate number.

I just hope our beer tasting buddies enjoy the 50 pounds of beer and whiskey!

Day 7 David’s 69 Birthday

 

Our last day of sightseeing and we are heading out with paper in hand, but David doesn’t know where we are taking him.  He had wanted to go to a distillery, so our first stop was at Glenmorangie.

Their Story

In 1843, William Matheson founded the Glenmorangie Distillery in the Scottish Highlands. Inspired by the Distillery’s peaceful surroundings on the banks of the Dornoch Firth, he brought forth a pioneering single malt whisky wonderfully complex and exceptionally smooth.” Ever since, we have pursued our craft with uncompromising dedication – endlessly creative in our quest for perfection. To this day, we honor the Distillery’s provenance in our award-winning single malt. Its pure, smooth spirit is distilled in Scotland’s tallest stills, matured in the finest casks and perfected by The Men of Tain. And, in the hands of these select craftsmen, the guardians of our spirit, Glenmorangie will surely delight malt whisky lovers for generations to come.”

We went on a tour with the wonderful, young guide, Aiden.  I was really impressed with his knowledge of the working of the distillery.  He kept you entertained through the whole tour. The huge stills were just breathtaking.  I had never seen anything like that before.  We saw an old caddy that was used in the commercials.  I will get into this more when I write an article about the tour.  David even got a bottle of Scotch.  I told him to get what he wanted until I noticed the highest price on one was 7200 pounds.  He did get one a whole lot cheaper.  He enjoyed his first surprise.

 

IMG_1010

THANKS AIDEN!

On to our next stop, Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. Dunrobin Castle is also one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s, home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland.

 

The bells you see above and the servants bells, so they knew which room to go to and who was calling them.

We enjoyed the gardens.

Then the best part was the Falconry Show

Then it was time to say good-bye to Dunrobin Castle.

IMG_1013

Off to our next stop which was a nice beach.

Then it was time to head home, so Fred could fix our last meal.  We had a sad detour though on our way. As we neared Beauly there were cars all lined up.  David and I could see from our seats that someone was getting CPR.  The next thing the fire engine blocked the road so we had to turn around and go back the way we came. Then going the long way home.  I found out later that a 75 year old woman had a heart attack and passed away even with the help she was getting.  At least she did go fast.  We will be thinking of her family today.

We finally made it home where Fred jumped into the kitchen and started cooking another wonderful meal.

 

He also made him an ice cream cake but we didn’t get back early enough for it to get totally frozen.  Of course, all the candles did not help much.  We popped open a bottle of champagne to celebrate.

 

Then Fred broke out the whiskey, so our early night turned into midnight before we knew it.  A great time was had by all.  We will miss them.

 

 

Fred and M

I met Fred and M many years ago.  Fred was in the military with my late husband, Baggy, also known as Stuart Bagot.  I got along with them great and we all became great friends. I spent time with them after Baggy’s death and it helped me a lot.  I wanted them to meet my new husband, so I asked if we could come visit while we were in the United Kingdom.  They said of course, so the trip was planned.

DSC_0873

Fred who’s real name is Andrew Graeme was a very close friend of Baggy’s.  Baggy had trained him up in II Para.  All of the unit seemed to earn nicknames.  Baggy got his because he was so skinny that his uniform hung on him like a bag of shit.  Fred got his because he could swim really good and hold his breath for 2 minutes.  His sergeant started calling him Freddy the Fish, so he became Fred.  They had not seen each other for many years because Freddy had gone AWOL.  Baggy said his Lieutenant would keep calling him into headquarters and telling him that he had got a post card from his friend. Then after Fred moved around for a lot of years he settled in Germany where he met M.  Many years later they moved to Scotland and started the recording studio.  He got hold of Baggy in Blackpool and their friendship was rekindled.

Fred has done many things in his life but he mainly worked in the music industry.  He has been an editor, truck driver, written many articles, taught I believe for a while too.  He is a fantastic cook.  I love going to visit just to eat his cooking.  He also likes spending time on the internet, as you can see in the above photo, but he does enjoy playing with his outside toys; tractor, digger, chainsaw and such things.  He is always good for a laugh.

Mechthild Graeme better know as M is probably the closest friend I have.  She was born and raised in Germany.  We have just always got along great.  She is also one of the smartest woman I know.  She like Fred has done many things in her life.  She was a DJ for years.  She worked for some American company for a very long time too.  Of course, she is the business side of the recording studio.  She knows three languages, German, English and Gaelic.  She decided if she was going to live in Scotland she should learn Gaelic.  She is now teaching English as a second language to people online.  M just can’t stay still.  The other day when we took a relaxing day she did too, but for her that meant working in the yard.  She is an amazing woman who I am very proud to call my friend.

Besides Fred taking us all over the highlands to show us the sights and making us wonderful meals we put a big dent in the 32 gallons of beer that Fred had made.  We also played Malefitz which is a German board game.  We had to teach David how to play because he had never even heard of it.  That is what we usually did after dinner.  On the norm the women usually won but one night Fred won.  I have never seen him get so excited.  We will never hear the end of it.  Poor David though never did win.  We have so many laughs playing this game.  We also had to have David watch Funny Bones which is a movie that takes place in Blackpool.

Thanks guys for all the fun!

 

Samuel Augustus Van Doghousen III

Fred and M for as long as I have known them have always had a Great Dane. They have rescued quite a few and given them a great life.  They never know what kind of background they have come from, so sometimes they can really be a lot of work.

Sam is the one that they have now.  He does have some cute ways about him.  There used to be a commercial in Britain for a company and the star was Churchill the Bulldog.  Fred and M somehow ended up with a stuffed one and Sam has adopted it.  He carries it around and lays it down gently.  He treats it like it is his baby.  Sam must have also gone to model school because just bring the camera out and he poses for you.  He is a real ham.  But he is a Great Dane which means he has the brain the size of a pea.  He can do some dumb things like not being smart enough to get out of the sun when you get to hot.  When he is panting he is not smart enough to drink water.  They have to put a lot of water in his food to make up for his lack of drinking it plain.

Sam is a good guard dog when it comes to people jumping over the fence to pick mushrooms.  He goes bounding after them barking.  They go running.  We are never sure if he is really chasing them or if he is saying wait I want to play.

Sam has his own couch to sleep on in the hall with his own blanket, of course.  He spends a lot of time here dreaming of chasing sheep and horses.  He will bark at them and is very brave when there is a fence between him and them.

All in all Sam is just a big loveable dog who will always make you smile by doing something funny or with his facial expressions.

 

Sam thanks for all the laughs while we were visiting in Scotland.

 

Day 6 at the Byre

On Sunday at the Byre we usually have a nice cooked breakfast and read the paper.  We just decided to hang out.  The boys decided to see what David’s low note was.  He went lower than I think Fred thought he could.  They ran to Lidl to get a tool Fred wanted.  M and I just enjoyed the sun and the quiet.

I know you have heard me mention The Byre several times and you probably wonder what I am talking about.  The Byre is a recording studio built on 20 acres.  There is also the old house that came with the property when they bought it.  Fred has done a lot of remodeling on it and is still working on it.

The recording business isn’t as good as it used to be, so they now rent it out several times a week to the Inverness Music School.  Fred is also starting a film studio and building a shed for it.

http://inchbrakie.tripod.com/the-byre/

I have always loved it here.  It is so peaceful.  When I lived in England it was my place I could go and feel like I was back home in Alaska.  I decided just to take some photos around the property on Sunday.